Thursday, 30 April 2009

This time, we're ready

I rearranged a dentist appointment and juggled my work schedule around to be there, but I've already said the most important thing--I'll be there.

We'll be there. My husband, in tweed! And argyle socks, and the most perfect beret. I'm so happy I just might burst.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Three years ago, exactly. We had been married nearly 1 1/2 years and thought we were old hats at it by then. Alaska was ahead of us and I think if you looked closely, you could actually see stars in the greens and browns of our eyes.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

I heart my bike

I had bought this bell (at Napa River Velo, although they sell them online at amazon) even before I bought la bicyclette. Just had to find the one to give my heart to.

Monday, 27 April 2009


My parents are in Prescott, Arizona on a work-related trip. We've only been to Prescott once, canoeing in this awesome corner of the world called the Granite Dells and I wanted to show pictures of how pretty it is there--but for the life of me I cannot find those jpeg files. So instead of putting all of my energy into finding these pictures, I shall let it go and post one of a lovely cactus. Did you know that the more branches a cactus has, the older it is? I pay respects to this wise, ancient one.

I loved living in Arizona. It definitely has its share of haters and I, too, was skeptical at first but it worked its magic on me. On us. If only the ocean were closer.

Thursday, 23 April 2009


Maybe it's spring's nature of making us want to de-clutter and reinvent, or maybe it's the fact that our one-bedroom apartment is something akin to a college student's and we're just
over it...but we're both nesting. BAD.

The other day I spotted this Swedish cottage on the fantastic blog Oh Joy!, photographed by Martin Lรถf. And, well, this is it, folks. This is what I want and all I want in a home (eh, sans punching bag on deck). Something tiny and manageable but beautiful and airy in every way. Now I just have to brainwash convince Steve of its perfection.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Happy Earth Day

We are so blessed to be able to live the way we do.

Earth Day resolutions: Start remembering to take the freaking reuseable bags out of the car to use them in the grocery store, rather than cursing early-onset dementia when getting to the checkout counter. Bike more. Continue using Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products forever and ever (I wish they'd turn the geranium scent into a perfume).

Monday, 20 April 2009

Romantic date #912

Race go-carts with the man. Just make sure you put up a fight if he tries to pass you.

Bodega Bay on a glorious weekend in April

Friday, 17 April 2009

Happy weekending

Weekending. It's an art, you know. To do: ride bikes, drink wine, eat a shawarma already, find a dress for something special we're doing Monday, finish my current knitting project, plan and shop for next week's food, and go to the coast for tidepooling, maybe snorkeling. And go to the city with my husband.

It certainly helps that we've got a four-day weekend to cram all this weekending in.

p.s. this is the balloon cluster I tied to Steve's bike one night when it was locked to the bike rack in front of his work. Would have taken a picture of the bewildered look on his face when he saw it, but I was giggling too much.

p.p.s. this became a reality today.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Oh most wonderful husband,

I think I kinda sorta definitely would start actually doing something involving a stove and spices again if I had this apron to wear. (Quasi mio compleanno!)Thank you for picking up the slack and making me a delicious dinner every night this week when work had gotten the best of me, in every sense of the phrase. I love you. love, Me

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

strawberry & cream pie

This is the recipe I use and love. Steve refers to it as strawberry crack. I made it Easter Sunday and have had it for breakfast (my name is Tania and I eat dessert for breakfast) and an early evening snack every day since. For a while there I deviated and for the whipped cream part tried to actually use heavy cream that was hand-whipped. But for once Cool Whip works better--the pie won't 'set' otherwise.

Note that this has raw eggs which some might not be cool with...I was lucky enough to be raised by a mama who made me zabaglione for dessert on a regular basis so none of us bat an eyelash at that sort of thing. I just make sure to buy good quality, fresh eggs--so far, so good.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Surprise wedding

How I love this surprise wedding, via Smitten. I have decided. If we were to do it all over again, this is how it would go down. No fuss, no elaborate preparations and anxiety over the small stuff (and it's all small stuff), just a big ta-da! and watch the happiness unfold on family and friends' faces as they realized what was going on. Steve agrees. It's much

Image by Steve Gold

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter!

This has been such a beautiful day. The alarm went off at 4:45 (discombobulated husband asked, "what are we doing again?" as he struggled to get oriented) so that we could make the trek up to the giant cross atop Mount Davidson in San Francisco for their sunrise service. I'll always remember walking up the hill with dozens of people, all of us bundled up, to the sounds of a band playing the hymn Jesus Christ is Risen Today.

After the service we headed to China Camp State Park for a picnic of deviled eggs, Joy of Eating bread, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese, and mint limeade. Sitting on our blanket overlooking the marshy flats, we saw not a single person on our trail. I adore picnics. So much pleasure from something so simple.

Then after napping I sent Steve over to Heather's while setting up his Easter Treasure Hunt. He had to find 24 eggs with clues such as

so in the southern hemisphere, I would move differently. But would my back look different?


Steve Nero's
The Steve
Steve Pepe's


"Our" counterpart to Prince's #1 Album, but replace the first letter of the second word with the first letters of our names.

which eventually led him to his Easter basket. The clues were a combination of inside jokes, trivia, and plays on different word meanings. And, um, the hunt took him over three hours to complete.

For dinner we had Thai fried hardboiled eggs with tamarind sauce (no cholesterol testing for us tomorrow!) and strawberry and cream pie. Pretty much the perfect day. Not that I like nor want to get used to spending holidays without family, but it seems as though we're getting the hang of it after four years.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

In a funk

I'm having one of those days--apparently I'm still sick, and homesick too, so...will hopefully have a better perspective on things tomorrow. From top to bottom: Marmee, Jacqueline, Tania

Monday, 6 April 2009

Egg babies

Yesterday I blew out 10 eggs in order to start making Easter eggs--cut a hole on each side, stick a seafood pick in each one to stir the yolk, and then blow from one end until the egg is hollow. Steve came home from work and I proudly showed him what I had done, which is when he proceeded to show me a better way to do it. The eggs looked so much more Martha-like when he did it. Darn it, this man does everything better than me. Anyhow, I hadn't blown eggs since my egg baby days which reminded me of a funny story.

When I was in 9th grade the Florida public school curriculum required every student to take a life management course. I really only remember the sex ed. part since that's the one all of us awkward, puberty-riddled kids were anticipating with giggling, baited breath. One assignment was to blow out an egg, give it a name, and carry this hollow egg baby around with you everywhere for a week without breaking it. By doing this you would see how difficult it was to have a baby and wouldn't get pregnant as a teenager.

Right. I don't know where they come up with this stuff.

Anyhoo. I named my baby Skyler Ethan Mackenzie Mariani. What a mouthful. For the record I now find that name hideous, but I digress. My teacher, Mrs. Willis, put a purple mark on little Skyler (so she would know it was the original) and I went about my merry 9th-grade life.

I lasted about two days until walking back to the car in the Publix parking lot and BAM! Skyler was smashed in tiny, horrifying pieces against the bumper (Marmee always said to look where you're going...). Undeterred, I went home, blew out another egg, rustled up a purple marker and forged the original. No one was the wiser.

I wish I could say that was the end of my bad mothering, but it was as if the floodgates had opened. I killed poor Skyler no less than 12 times. My mom was yelling at me that I was wasting all her eggs. (But this assignment was like a 1/3 of our overall grade! I had no choice.) The worst was when I broke Skyler during lunch, right before my 5th period life management class where Mrs. Willis would be coming around and "checking" on the babies. I had to think fast, so before class, I put the little blanket over Skyler's crushed body. When Mrs. Willis arrived at my desk I said, "Shhhhhhh, he's sleeping..." and just smiled angelically (maternally?) at her. She smiled back and moved on.

Fast forward 11 years and Mrs. Willis was now our instructor for the pre-cana class Steve and I were required to take for a Catholic wedding. I know, karma. But--I now consider her to be one of my mentors and love seeing her at church when I visit home. She is so kind. And
I love reminiscing about egg babies with her.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Cheap substitute

Okay, not that I'm going back on The Exercise Plan Extraordinaire, it's just that I think I may have found a cheaper alternative to buying those shoes. And the money I save could go towards a tandem bungee jump on Vancouver Island or whitewater rafting in Africa. I could buy pretty flower pins and attach them to some strappy heels, a la this picture:
via fashion is spinach

Friday, 3 April 2009

If I stick to my exercise plan* next week

...I'll reward myself with these. They are so pretty for spring.

After all, I never did buy those flat calf-length boots last winter.

*To hold me accountable--
Sunday: body sculpt
Monday: spinning
Tuesday: running
Wednesday: abs/spinning
Thursday: core conditioning
Friday: abs/spinning
Saturday: hiking

Um, by no means do I typically exercise 7 days/week. I'm just feeling very cow-like after having spent the entire last week in primarily a horizontal position due to a nasty cold. And, I just had southern 'soul' food for dinner - fried chicken, rice and gravy, peach cobbler, and the like.

Thursday, 2 April 2009


I'm hoping this is the last major holiday we spend without family for awhile (not counting July 4th) but I still like to celebrate Easter, even if it is just the two of us. I think my man secretly likes it to, although he teases me to no end in the process. Martha had some good ideas involving decoupage. I also plan to blow out some eggs this weekend, paint them with glitter, fill them with confetti and crack them over a certain 6-foot-tall someone's head at opportune times.

We're trying to convince our friends Naomi and Chris to let us have a flashlight Easter egg hunt in their backyard. I'm thinking one more bottle of wine and it will be a done deal. We did this a few years ago at my parents' and poor Marmee was still finding eggs in July.

Image via Martha Stewart.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

April Fool's

Happy April Fool's Day. I plan on temporarily turning our tap water blue, lining the toilet with saran wrap, and rigging the bathroom door so that it drops a cup of water on his adorable head in an ongoing attempt to perplex my sexy husband.

And the happiest of birthdays to our littlest cretin, da Brunes, aka Gigi, the creepiest, most coy and redheaded soul around. If you knew Brunie you would understand this next phrase and the adorable Mexican-Punjabi way he says it: eeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhh.....